2011 Mazda MAZDA6 Review

Consumer Reviews
1 Review
2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
February 10, 2011

The 2011 Mazda Mazda6 is a great pick for practically-minded family-car shoppers who also value driving enjoyment.

The Mazda6 manages to elude most family shopping lists, and we think that's a shame as it is in some respects the most attractive, best-packaged, and friskiest-driving mid-size sedan on the market. The Michigan-made Mazda6 manages to stand out from the crowd, and it's as appealing inside as it is on the outside.

The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, that Mazda6 'I' (including base SV, Sport, and Touring) models get is not only the more economical choice but actually feels quite peppy with either the six-speed manual or five-speed automatic in this rather light-weight (for its size) front-driver. But once you drive the V-6 there might not be any going back; with 272 horsepower from 3.7 liters, it churns out the torque and makes the Mazda6 feel like a muscle car from a standing start. Gas mileage isn't great, but it's a hoot to drive. Brakes have a pleasing, no-slack feel as well, and altogether, it delivers athletic handling and a surprisingly accommodating ride, but it's on the verge of being too soft for Mazda's zoom-zoom image. Steering also could be crisper and quicker and feels a little too isolated, especially on V-6 models.

The 2011 Mazda6 is a roomy mid-size sedan, and even though this model's racier look might promise a little more sportiness, it doesn't give up anything in terms of seat comfort, trunk space, or ride quality. The Mazda6 is about as large as a Toyota Camry inside, with a backseat that now has plenty of space for adults and a trunk that's actually the largest in its class at 16.6 cubic feet. The rear seatbacks can also be folded forward to dramatically increase cargo space; however, there are no releases within easy reach of the trunk—you'll need to climb around. Front seats also are better than those elsewhere in this class, with some measure of thigh and side support to hold you in place in corners.

Review continues below

The Mazda6 is also positioned, for value and pricing, right up against segment leaders like the Honda Accord, Nissan Maxima, and Hyundai Sonata. Like those models, the 6 covers a wide range in terms of pricing and equipment, with the base SV starting just under $20k and a fully loaded 's' Grand Touring costing more than $33k.

Other than the lack of Bluetooth, which we think should be offered at all trim levels, we like the level of equipment in the SV; it includes air conditioning, a tilt/telescopic stsering wheel, power windows and locks, rear-seat heated ducts, and a six-speaker audio system with aux input. At the top of the range, Grand Touring models gain items like leather upholstery, heated front seats, keyless illuminated entry, cruise control, a dual-zone climate control system, fog lamps, and a power moonroof.

New for 2011, Grand Touring models now get a 4.3-inch Multi-Information Display, including Bluetooth controls and a rearview camera, and Touring models also get a Bluetooth interface.

9

2011 Mazda MAZDA6

Styling

The Mazda6 has a sleek, curvaceous design that manages to escape the boredom and design obsequiousness that's so common among affordable mid-size sedans.

The 2011 Mazda Mazda6 got a full redesign two years ago, and while we're not completely won over by its driving experience or that it's significantly larger, we think its styling is a hit inside and out.

The last-generation Mazda6 was a nice, pert sport sedan, a half-size smaller than most mid-sizers, but the current version is basically the same size as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, it appears leaner and more purposeful. It's attractive from any angle, but the sculpted front fenders and broad wheel arches give it an especially aggressive look from the front. There's a clear family resemblance to the high-performance Mazda RX-8 and the Mazda3, though the 3's front-end styling is more controversial.

The Mazda6 enters 2011 with a slightly different headlight and foglight design, along with a new 17-inch alloy wheel design. Also, upper trims (Touring Plus and Grand Touring) get new side folding mirrors with integral turn signals.

Inside, the Mazda6 has flowing lines and a sporty feel throughout, with hooded instruments and a smaller-size three-spoke steering wheel. White-on-black instrumentation is standard on the Mazda6 Sport, while red-on-black gauge faces are used on Touring and Grand Touring editions.

Also as part of this year's subtle refresh, the Mazda6 gets a new steering wheel design, and the center stack gets a few more trim accents, in addition to a new Multi-Information Display.

Review continues below
8

2011 Mazda MAZDA6

Performance

The 2011 Mazda Mazda6 has specs that put it on level ground with most mid-sizers, yet it's more engaging to drive than most.

The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, that Mazda6 'I' (including base SV, Sport, and Touring) models get is not only the more economical choice but actually feels quite peppy with either the six-speed manual or five-speed automatic in this rather light-weight (for its size) front-driver. But once you drive the V-6 there might not be any going back; with 272 horsepower from 3.7 liters, it churns out the torque and makes the Mazda6 feel like a muscle car from a standing start. Gas mileage isn't great, but it's a hoot to drive.

In either version, the automatic transmission that accompanies either engine is paired well, with manual control plus rev-matched downshifts good for driving on curvy mountain highways. Brakes have a pleasing, no-slack feel as well.

Altogether, it delivers athletic handling and a surprisingly accommodating ride, but steering could be crisper and quicker and feels a little too isolated, especially on V-6 models.

Review continues below
9

2011 Mazda MAZDA6

Comfort & Quality

Going 'zoom-zoom' comes with few if any compromises here; the Mazda6 is a very spacious, refined, and well-built.

The 2011 Mazda6 is a roomy mid-size sedan, and even though this model's racier look might promise a little more sportiness, it doesn't give up anything in terms of seat comfort, trunk space, or ride quality.

In most respects, the Mazda6 is just as large as a Toyota Camry inside, with a backseat that now has plenty of space for adults and a trunk that's actually the largest in its class at 16.6 cubic feet. The rear seatbacks can also be folded forward to dramatically increase cargo space; however, there are no releases within easy reach of the trunk—you'll need to climb around. Front seats also are better than those elsewhere in this class, with some measure of thigh and side support to hold you in place in corners.

The interior appointments in the Mazda6 look much like those used elsewhere in the Mazda line, such as in the CX-9 and Mazda3, which is to say that they're very fashionable and stylish, with an upscale but not completely luxurious look. Top Grand Touring models are trimmed to look a more lavish, though. The standard cloth upholstery feels sturdy yet comfortable, while the available leather will help satisfy luxury cravings to a degree. The cabin is quiet, and much better hushed from road noise than the Mazda3—and much of its mid-size competition. One remaining complaint is that the electroluminescent gauges features in the more luxurious trims are actually a bit harder to rear in bright sunlight, where they can get bleached out.

Review continues below
7

2011 Mazda MAZDA6

Safety

The 2011 Mazda Mazda6 is no standout according to crash tests, though all the safety essentials are here.

While the Mazda6 might have somewhat better handling to help avoid an accident, its safety features and occupant protection are no standout. In fact, its crash-test ratings have exposed a couple of worrisome issues.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Mazda6 offers 'good' protection for frontal and side impacts but just 'marginal' for rear impacts. Furthermore, in the new IIHS roof strength category, the 6 scored just 'acceptable.' The one concerning part of the IIHS results is their contention that "forces on the right tibia indicate that injuries to the lower leg would be possible." In the former federal tests (new ones have been introduced for 2011, and the Mazda6 still hasn't been tested), it received top five-star scores across the board.

Front side airbags, side-curtain bags, anti-lock brakes, traction control, and dynamic stability control are all standard, as they are among most mid-size sedans. Mazda's blind-spot monitoring system is available too.

Outward visibility is also surprisingly good, despite the wide rear pillar and rather high rear deck, thanks to the rather high seating position and clear sightlines.

Review continues below
8

2011 Mazda MAZDA6

Features

The 2011 Mazda6 comes with a good set of features, but Bluetooth is still missing on all but top trims.

The Mazda6 is positioned, for value and pricing, right up against segment leaders like the Honda Accord, Nissan Maxima, and Hyundai Sonata. Like those models, the 6 covers a wide range in terms of pricing and equipment, with the base SV starting just under $20k and a fully loaded 's' Grand Touring costing more than $33k.

Other than the lack of Bluetooth, which we think should be offered at all trim levels, we like the level of equipment in the SV; it includes air conditioning, a tilt/telescopic stsering wheel, power windows and locks, rear-seat heated ducts, and a six-speaker audio system with aux input. At the top of the range, Grand Touring models gain items like leather upholstery, heated front seats, keyless illuminated entry, cruise control, a dual-zone climate control system, fog lamps, and a power moonroof.

New for 2011, Grand Touring models now get a 4.3-inch Multi-Information Display, including Bluetooth controls and a rearview camera, and Touring models also get a Bluetooth interface.

All the requisite options are available: push-button start, an audio system with satellite radio and a built-in hard drive, a navigation system, and rain-sensing wipers.

Review continues below
7

2011 Mazda MAZDA6

Fuel Economy

Those who want a green mid-size sedan will have no problem finding many choices with higher mpg ratings.

The Mazda Mazda6 is no standout with respect to fuel economy, or being a particularly green choice. Its EPA ratings, of 18 to 22 mpg city and 27 to 31 highway are merely average, or a bit below average, among mid-size sedans.

These numbers aren't bad. But with today's Hyundai Sonata offering up to 35 mpg highway, and several hybrid models rated at well over 30 mpg combined, there are better options for those who want to use as little fuel as possible.

Review continues below
Continue Reading

The Car Connection Consumer Review

1 Review
5 star
4 star
100%
3 star
2 star
1 star
Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
September 13, 2016
2011 Mazda MAZDA6 4-Door Sedan Automatic i Sport

Ideal Family Car On The Cheap

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
the 2011 Mazda 6 would have been the perfect car for me...if I had a wife & kids. As a single guy, the car seemed massive - way more car than I needed. The 2.5 four cylinder offered adequate power if you put... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
USED PRICE RANGE
$5,990 - $15,695
Browse Used Listings
in your area
8.2
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 9
Performance 8
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety 7
Features 8
Fuel Economy 7
Compare the 2011 Mazda MAZDA6 against the competition
Compare All Cars
Looking for a different year of the Mazda MAZDA6?
Read reviews & get prices
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
See More Used